A few of us went to McKenzie’s Burger Garage this past Wednesday to celebrate the luxury of eating what we want again! The burgers were tasty and highly recommended. In our relationship with God, He gives us the grace of fasting but also the grace of feasting (Rev. 19:9). I won’t lie, I’m partial to the feasting.
So to all those of you who joined us in some way on this fast, thanks and well done. It was great doing this together. For those who weren’t ready or this wasn’t the right season for you, then maybe we’ll catch you next time.
Here’s what I loved about the fasting: we all searched after God. One church member heard God speak to them on an important decision. Another fasted and God spoke a new focus into their life about whole-heartedness. I personally received fresh wisdom on some key church decisions, plus some much-needed spiritual strength during a week in which I was attacked spiritually much more than normal. A few others told us that they sought God and experienced frustration after praying and fasting and not hearing a clear word from Him. That frustration resonates; I’ve had those times with God and sometimes I’m left wondering why.
Here are a few possibilities for why God had me fast in the past; one or two them might resonate with you:
* A lesson about discipline and lordship. When I fast from food, my stomach starts talking to me. It gets angry that I would dare withhold what it wants. And if I can continue to stick to my fasting commitment, I begin to realize that my stomach is not the master, I am. I have the ability to say “no” to my desires. How many times have I felt that I couldn’t say “no” to an overwhelming desire for food or lust or even an angry outburst. In those moments, my desires scream that they are my Master, but they aren’t. Their power is an illusion. The process of fasting always reminds me that I can say no (through the power of Christ, Rom. 6:10-11). And when I’m saying “no” because it’s God’s will and He’s Lord, that’s powerful.
* The miracle of silence and focus. The kingdom of this world is a kingdom of chaos and noise. Many of us found salvation through Christ, but we never learned to walk with Him, talk with Him, and have a daily relationship. It’s risky and scary to even try. In my experience, God invites us all to this relationship and it takes a lot of experiential trying and often failing. We’re like spiritual toddlers trying to walk and falling on our spiritual butts, over and over. This fast was a time to get going on those legs. Our Father was there, loving every minute, even if you felt like you weren’t making much progress.
* A statement of love to God. We are saved by grace. We didn’t earn it and we can’t earn it; we know this (Eph. 2:8-9). But for an illustration, let’s say you have the most loving, committed spouse in the world. Lucky you. You don’t have to fear him/her leaving, ever, and that’s good. But let’s say that you plan a weekend getaway with roses and champaign and romance. You’re not motivated by fear; you’re doing it out of shear love. Through this time of fasting, we showed God an act of extravagant love, not because we had to, but because we wanted to. He knows why we did, even if we didn’t do it perfectly. Even if we gave up a day early and binged a bag of Doritos. Taking time to love God matters.
There are many more reasons to fast, but I hope these encouraged you. Love you guys. Pastor Josh.